Day Two. I wake up to the morning sun shining through the trees. I had turned out the light in the barn before going in for the night, and I am anxious to see whether the sunlight streaming in through the ceiling has enticed the kitties to venture upward to the hay loft. I am disappointed to find them still on the ground floor, huddled behind the plywood in the dark. My three little barn-fellows obviously have not had a wink of sleep all night. You can tell that they’re exhausted and are having difficulty keeping their eyes open. Not a bit of the canned food I left for them has been eaten. One of the kitties, whom I’ve named Gracie, is more trusting than the others. While the other two cower together in the corner, she inches toward the edge of the plywood that is closest to me, as though trying to summon up the nerve to come out. I think she like being talked to.
By early evening, I see the first signs that the kitties are beginning to settle in. To my surprise, I find all three of them lounging in the hayloft–although with my arrival two of them bolt down the ramp to the safe spot behind the plywood. Only Gracie remains in the loft, positioned cautiously next to the cut-out in the floor. I see that the three have eaten most of the dry food that I left for them, and there are signs that they’ve been in the laundry baskets. The four rubber balls that I had left on a scrap of carpet are scattered about the hay loft–a tell-tale sign that somebody has been playing.
Before heading in for the night, I check on the cats one last time. I enter the barn and am surprised to see the room in disarray. A half-sheet of plywood that had been laying against the wall had fallen over, and the three cat carriers that were stacked neatly against the wall had tumbled down. Whatever happened must have caused quite a panic, since two of the cats have disappeared into the wall insulation. Gracie alone remains in sight, peering out at me from her spot behind the plywood.
Day Three, and I climb the ladder to the loft to find one of the two shyer kitties lounging in an apple box nest. She looks relaxed, even nonchalant, as I step up into the loft. I proceed to scoop out the litter box and to fill the bowl with food while talking to her softly. She doesn’t make a move.
Later in the day, I mow the pasture. As much as I wish that everything could be quiet and controlled, this is, after all, a rural property, and life goes on. But the loud growl of the motor has clearly been upsetting. Gracie is still huddled behind the plywood looking more jittery than I’ve seen her. And the kitty upstairs in the apple box, whom I’ve named Hannah, is still in her nook–although this time my approach causes her to run for cover. The third kitty, whom I’m calling Chloe, is still plastered tightly to the wall behind a sheet of insulation.
A last visit to the barn before going in for the night, and I see that although Gracie is still behind the plywood, somehow three rubber balls have managed to get back there with her. So there has been some activity that I don‘t know about. . .
To be continued…